ADOPTING IN BOLIVIA

Carte de la Bolivie petite échelle
Carte de la Bolivie grande échelle

BOLIVIA ACCEPTS:

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Childless married couples

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Married couples with children

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Single people

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Same sex couples

COFA Lille is accredited by Bolivia

THE ISSUES OF BOLIVIAN CHILDREN

As one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Bolivia is confronted with a number of problems, such as infant mortality, child labour, and difficulties accessing education in rural areas. Bolivia consequently faces a difficult situation and must still improve the living standards of young Bolivians in many regards.

Poverty

Extreme poverty, especially in rural areas, affects the most disadvantaged indigenous people.

Indigenous children who are aware of the importance of education are the first to seek to improve their living conditions, not only for themselves, but also for their families. Their possibilities are nonetheless limited due to an educational infrastructure which is still insufficient, along with a dearth of teaching materials and libraries.

Many of these children resort to working to survive and to go to school.

Child labour

In La Paz in 2013, children rebelled and claimed their right to work, as working is a question of survival. President Evo Morales, who worked as a child himself, promised a law that would allow them to work while protecting them.

In 2014, Evo Morales was the first president to legalise child labour at an early age (14).

To justify the law, the government invoked household poverty: there is evidence of deprivation that makes it extremely difficult for families to survive, which is why children are forced to work from a very early age. It is not only a question of work, but one of dignity, to improve their quality of life.

Ce que dit la loi adoptée en juillet 2014 :

La réforme du Code de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence est adoptée en juillet 2014 et entre en vigueur le 6 août. Selon la loi, l’âge minimum légal est conservé à 14 ans mais la loi fixe deux exceptions : « les enfants et adolescents de 10 à 14 ans pourront travailler à leur compte et les adolescents de 12 à 14 ans pourront travailler pour une tierce personne », à la condition que cette activité ne nuise pas à leur droit à l’éducation et qu’elle ne soit pas dangereuse.

 La loi donne aussi des droits à l’enfant. En cas d’emploi salarié, le salaire minimum est fixé à 207 dollars, identique à celui des adultes et la journée fixée à 6 heures maximum au lieu de 8 heures. L’employeur est également obligé de signer un contrat de travail et d’inscrire l’enfant au système de santé. Pour les enfants travaillant à leur compte, les parents doivent garantir un temps pour la scolarisation, les loisirs et la culture.

Interdictions formelles : travail sans volonté de l’enfant (forcé), travail de nuit, travaux dangereux assimilés à de l’exploitation (récolte de canne à sucre, travail dans les mines, les briqueteries, ramassage d’ordures, etc.). Les services de défense de l’enfance sont chargés d’autoriser ou non le travail des enfants, après une enquête préalable au sein du foyer familial pour attester que l’enfant à la capacité physique et mentale d’exercer un travail.

Mais les mesures de protection ne sont pas toujours mises en pratique.

Right to healthcare

Although several legislative efforts have been made in favour of children, mainly in education and healthcare, a lot remains to be done. The main priority of the “Zero Malnutrition” programme is to reduce child mortality, especially in rural areas.

 

Right to education

In 2006, the Bolivian government created school vouchers to reduce the indirect costs of public education, such as teaching materials and transportation, with the aim of increasing enrolment and reducing drop-out rates and poverty.

In 2010, a new education law was adopted, which aims to adapt and improve the education system through respecting and enhancing local cultures, by promoting the knowledge and languages of indigenous peoples without neglecting universal knowledge.

Despite all these changes, there are still substantial inequalities between urban and rural areas, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and between men and women.

Street children

Migration to cities due to rural poverty has become a source of family disintegration. Children affected by violence or poverty at home leave their homes to go and live on the streets. This is one of the most complex issues for the country to solve.

These street children are a very vulnerable population, exposed to risks such as labour exploitation and all types of violence.

 

Domestic violence

Most violence occurs in the home or at work, which makes it difficult for authorities to protect victims, since most of these incidents are not reported.

CONDITIONS FOR ADOPTING

Evo Morales, the first Native American president, who was elected in 2005, did not renew accreditations granted to host countries for the international adoption of children in Bolivia.

As these children are of Native American descent, like him, he wished to establish measures that would improve the circumstances of Native Americans to encourage them to raise their own children. He also developed national adoption.

Adoption conditions in the country are given for information purposes only, based on the law of 17 July 2014, which significantly changes the previous criteria for adoption candidates:

  • to be aged at least 25 and to be at least 18 years older than the adopted child or teenager,
  • for married or common-law couples, to be aged less than 55,
  • with common-law couples, the relationship must have been tested in accordance with current regulations,
  • preparation certificate for adoptive mothers or fathers.

In addition, more information must be taken into account in applications:

  • obligation to hire a lawyer,
  • to stay at least three months in Bolivia,
  • as adoption was stopped several years ago, children who are entrusted to international adoption will be older children, some of whom will have minor handicaps.

Given the complexity of establishing these new procedures, an update will be carried out as soon as adoptions are allowed again in the country.